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IPL 2024: RR, KKR aim for top two finish; battle intense for other two spots

IPL 2024: Rajasthan Royals (RR) and Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) look strong for top two finish, who other two teams win the race of playoff? Which top 4 teams will qualify for IPL 2024 Playoffs?

IPL 2024: KKR and RR sitting top of the points table with 16 points each | Walking Wicket (Images_ ©BCCI_IPLT20)
IPL 2024: KKR and RR sitting top of the points table (Images: ©BCCI/IPLT20)

The Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024 is approaching towards the business end. With just a couple of weeks to go before the end of the league stage, the teams are giving their all for a top-four finish. 

The Rajasthan Royals (RR) and Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) look set for playoff qualification. The main battle for the remaining two positions is between the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH), Chennai Super Kings (CSK), and Lucknow Super Giants (LSG). 

Let’s examine which four teams are ahead in the playoff race

Rajasthan Royals aim to finish the league stage at the top

The best team in this 17th season of the tournament has been the Rajasthan Royals (RR). After the completion of 55 games in IPL 2024, the Royals are in the second position with eight wins in their 10 encounters at a net run rate (NRR) of +0.622. 

They started the season with four back-to-back wins, before failing to defend 197 against the Gujarat Titans (GT). After another string of four successive wins, the inaugural champions faced a heart-breaking one-run defeat. 

From batting to bowling, most of their players have clicked in every situation as a unit. Captain Sanju Samson has led from the front, as he is the tenth-highest run-getter of the tournament with 385 runs. His average of 64.16 and a strike rate of 159.09 also helped him in securing a place in India’s T20 World Cup 2024 squad. 

Riyan Parag also has impressed in the middle order, with his 409 runs so far in nine innings. His strike rate of 159.14 has offered them the firepower from the seventh to the 15th over. Jos Butler (319 runs) and Yashasvi Jaiswal (316 runs) have also provided them with good starts on most occasions. When required, Dhruv Jurel, Shimron Hetmyer, and Rovman Powell have raised their hand as well. 

Samson’s fantastic leadership skill in field placement or making changes in the bowling has worked in their favour. Moreover, Kumar Sangakkara has worked behind the scenes to put faith in their players for a long time. The Royals will look for two more wins to end the league stage among the top two. 

IPL 2024, LSG vs KKR_ Sunil Narine scored 81 off 39 against LSG _ Walking Wicket (Images_ ©BCCI_IPLT20)
Narine is 3rd highest run-getter this season (Images: ©BCCI/IPLT20)
Return of Sunil Narine and Andre Russell re-energizes Kolkata

The best thing that happened for the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) was the return to form for two of their trump cards. Both Sunil Narine and Andre Russell have been exceptional with both bat and ball in hand. 

The decision from KKR’s team management, especially Gautam Gambhir, to open with Narine has worked like a masterstroke. The West Indies off-spinner is the third-highest run-getter of the IPL 2024, with 461 runs. Facing only 251 balls so far in this tournament, his strike rate is 183.66. Phil Salt too has contributed in the opening spot, with 429 runs at a strike rate of 183.33. 

On the other hand, Andre Russell has returned to his best form. The all-rounder has smashed 198 runs at a strike rate of 186.79 this season. Whenever there is a requirement to break a partnership, Russell has worked like a magical weapon for KKR. He has collected 13 wickets, while his countryman Narine has pocketed 14 scalps at an economy of just 6.61. 

Kolkata have also used their fast-bowling resources well. Both the young pacers- Harshit Rana and Vaibhav Arora - have hit the right line and length. The former has managed 14 wickets in IPL 2024. With two more wins, the 2014 champions may assure themselves a top-two finish in the league stage. 

Sunrisers Hyderabad look to go hard in home games

One of the refreshing changes for the Sunrisers Hyderabad in IPL 2024 is the leadership of Pat Cummins. The way he has managed the squad is commendable. At their home, the fearless batting of Abhishek Sharma, Travis Head and Heinrich Klassen has taken them to record scores. Cummins has also played the part of coming in at crucial stages and picking up vital wickets. 

Bhuvneshwar Kumar has also looked in great touch with the new ball in hand. Despite players like Washinton Sundar and Mayank Agarwal staying on the bench, SRH have still won many games. From the fourth position with an NRR of -0.065, they need to win two of their last three games for a playoff qualification. 

IPL 2024, CSK vs PBKS_ Ruturaj Gaikwad scored 62 off 48 against PBKS  _ Walking Wicket (Images_ ©BCCI_IPLT20)
Gaikwad is the 2nd highest run-getter this season (Images: ©BCCI/IPLT20)
Experience and quality keep Chennai ahead of Lucknow 

After a strong start this season, Chennai Super Kings (CSK) slipped off the track. With six wins in 11 games, they are in the third position with an NRR of +0.700. To make it to their 13th playoff in the history of the tournament, CSK need two more wins in their last three games. 

The transition in leadership from Mahendra Singh Dhoni to a young Ruturaj Gaikwad has proceeded smoothly. And Gaikwad has also taken the responsibility on his shoulders, being the second-highest run-getter of IPL 2024 so far. The opener has been stunning with 541 runs so far at a strike rate of 147.01. 

While young skipper Shubman Gill has failed to score runs for the Gujarat Titans (GT), Gaikwad has led from the front. Chennai’s experience of being in these positions and settled planning put them ahead of LSG. What the Super Kings did well in this season was holding their nerve in tense moments. They’ve also used their fast bowlers beautifully. 

Lucknow can still go beyond CSK to grab the fourth position. But their 98-run defeat against KKR damaged their NRR to -0.371. All three of their last games are away from home. It will need something spectacular for them to turn the table

The final of the IPL 2024 will be played on May 26 at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai. 


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